Austin Greyhounds miss out on Spamtown final round, but finish strong

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, June 26, 2010

Although they missed out on the final round of the Spamtown Challenge, the Austin Greyhounds have to be feeling pretty good about the weekend after beating the Spencer, Iowa Cardinals 8-1 Saturday.

Austin (6-5 overall) snapped a five-game losing streak by winning two-of-three in the Challenge and some of their hitters rediscovered their swing, including Craig Braaten, who was hitting just .167 headed into the weekend.

Braaten had two singles and knocked in three runs on Saturday.

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“It’s been nice to see a few pitches here and there. I’ve been in a little bit of a slump coming into this, but my teammates have picked me up and that’s what it’s all about,” Braaten said. “John (Frein) does a great job setting up this tournament. There’s some great teams and we’re not playing any sluffs. Two wins gets us on the right track and we’ll have a nice little break coming up.”

It was also a good day for Austin grad Adam Hemann, who picked up the win in his first career start with the Hounds, who will play just one game in the next two weeks.

Hemann hadn’t started a game on the mound since last summer but he showed little rust, going five innings and scattering four hits while striking out three.

“I didn’t think I’d get to pitch this weekend but it felt pretty good,” Hemann said. “The defense made some nice plays and I tried to throw strikes and stay ahead and it worked out pretty well. It builds confidence and hopefully I can get some more starts.”

The Hounds turned two double plays in the first two innings and they also got their offense going early on.

Matt Raso grounded out to score a run to start the scoring in the top of the first, Braaten beat out an infield hit for an RBI and Zach Schara laced a two-out single to make it 3-0.

Austin didn’t have any more big innings, but it scored one run in five of the last six frames to take control.

Braaten said playing amd running a tournament in the same weekend can be a bit exhausting, but it’s worth it in the end.

“We’ve gotten used to the work. The more guys we have, the better off it is,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a little toll on you and the nights get a little long. But it’s a great tournament.”

Minnetonka won the Hounds’ pool on a three-way tiebreaker with Austin and Westmont, Ill.

Hounds 3 1 0 1 1 1 1 — 8 7 0

Cardinals 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 — 1 5 6

Hounds pitching: Adam Hemann (W), 5 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 3 K; Alex Kasak, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R

Hounds hitting: Nick Rohne, 0-for-4, RBI, R, BB; Nick Bowe, 1-for-2, R; Matt Cano, 0-for-1, 2 R, HBP; Matt Raso, 1-for-3, double, RBI, BB; Craig Braaten, 2-for-3, 3 RBIs, R; Dan Zielke, 0-for-3, BB; Zach Schara, 1-for-3, RBI; Bryan Toov, 1-for-2, double, R, 2 BBs; John Kirby, 1-for-4, R; Mike Schulke, 0-for-1, R; John Frein, 0-for-1; Pete Korfage, 0-for-1, RBI